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Friedrich Nietzsche on 
Rhetoric and Language 



Edited and Translated 
with a Critical Introduction by 

Sander L. Gilman 
Carole Blair 
David J. Parent 



New York Oxford 
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 
1989 



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Copyright © 1989 by Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, David J. Parent 

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publicauon Data 

Nietzsche, Fnedrich Wilhelm. 1844-1900. 
Friedrich Nietzsche on rhetoric and language : with the full text of hii lectures on rhetoric 
published for the first lime / edited and translated, with a critical introduction, by Sander 
L. Gilman, Carole Blair, David J. Parent, 
p. cm. 
Bibliography: p. 
Includes indexes. 

ISBN 0-1 9-505 1 $9-9 (alk. paper). ISBN 0-I9-505I6O2 (pbk. : alk. paper) 
1. Rhetoric. 2. Languages— Philosophy. I. Gilman, Sander L. 
II. Blair, Carole. III. Parent, David J. IV. Title. 
B33I3.F69 1988 
808-dcl9 



246897531 



Printed in the United States of America 
on acid-free paper 



Preface 



The first publication of Friedrich Nietzsche's complete lectures on 
rhetoric was made possible only with the cooperation of the Goethe- 
Schiller Archive of the National Research and Museum Organiza- 
tion of Classical German Literature, Weimar, and its director Karl- 
Heinz Hahn, who made the manuscripts available. We are also grate- 
ful for the new critical edition of Nietzsche's work edited by the late 
Mazzino Montinari and the late Giorgio Colli. 

The volume was edited by Sander L. Gilman. The introduction 
was written by Carole Blair and Sander L. Gilman. The first section 
of the English translation of the lectures on rhetoric was done by Car- 
ole Blair and published in the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric. We 
are grateful to the editor of that journal, Professor Donald Verene, 
for his permission to republish the translation. The establishment of 
the entire German text was undertaken by Sander L. Gilman and 
David J. Parent. The second half of the translation of the lectures, as 
well as the translations of the texts in Part II, was done by David J. 
Parent (who received ^funding from two sources: Illinois State Uni- 
versity and a 1984 NEH Summer Seminar at the University of Cal- 
ifornia, Davis, under the directorship of James J. Murphy). The 
checking of the Greek texts was ably done by Fredericke Hohendahl. 



Ithaca, New York 
July 1987 



S.L.G, 



ON TRUTH AND LYING IN AN EXTRA-MORAL 
SENSE (1873) 



In some remote corner of the universe that is poured out in count- 
less flickering solar systems, there once was a star on which clever 
animals invented knowledge. That was the most arrogant and the 
most untruthful moment in "world history" — yet indeed only a 
moment. After nature had taken a few breaths, the star froze over 
and the clever animals had to die. 

Someone could invent such a fable and still not have illustrated 
adequately how pitiful, how shadowy and fleeting, how purposeless 
and arbitrary the human intellect appears within nature. There were 
eternities when it did not exist; and someday when it no longer is 
there, not much will have changed. For that intellect has no further 
mission leading beyond human life. It is utterly human, and only its 
owner and producer takes it with such pathos as if the whole world 
hinged upon it. But if we could communicate with the gnat, we 
would leam that it too swims through the air with this same pathos 
and feels within itself the flying center of this world. Nothing in 
nature is so contemptible and insignificant that it would not imme- 
diately be swollen up like a balloon by the slightest touch of that 
power of knowledge; and just as every cargo-carrier wants to have 
his admirer, so too the proudest man of all, the philosopher, believes 
he sees the eyes of the universe focused telescopically from all direc- 
tions upon his- actions and thoughts. 

It is remarkable that the intellect manages to do this, for in reality 
this faculty is given only as a help to the most unfortunate, most 
delicate, and most perishable creature, in order to preserve it for a 
moment in an existence out of which it would otherwise, like Less- 
ing's son, have every reason to flee. 1 The arrogance associated with 
knowledge and sensation lays a blinding fog over man's eyes and 
senses and deceives him about the value of existence by instilling in 
him a most flattering estimation of this faculty of knowledge. Its 
most universal effect is deception— but even its most specific effects 
have something of this same deceptiveness. 

The intellect, as a means of preserving the individual, develops its 



246 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 



247 



main powers in dissimulation; for this is the means by which the 
weaker, less robust individuals survive, since in the struggle for exis- 
tence they are denied the horns and the sharp teeth of beasts of prey. 
This art of dissimulation reaches its peak in man; here deception, 
flattery, lying and cheating, slander, false pretenses, living on bor- 
rowed glory, masquerading, conventions of concealment, playacting 
before others and before oneself, in sum, the constant fluttering 
about the flame of vanity, is so much the rule and the law that almost 
nothing is more incomprehensible than how an honest and pure 
desire for truth could arise among men. They are deeply immersed 
in delusions and phantasmagoria; their eye merely glides around the 
surface of things and sees "forms"; their perception leads nowhere to 
the truth, but is satisfied with receiving stimuli and, as it were, play- 
ing a groping game on the back of things. Moreover, at night, for a 
whole life long, man lets himself be lied to in dreams, and his moral 
feeling does not seek to prevent this, although there are said to be 
men who can overcome snoring by sheer willpower. For what does 
man really know about himself! If only he could ever see himself 
perfectly, as if displayed in an illuminated showcase! Does not nature 
keep nearly everything secret from him, even about his own body, 
in order to hold him fast under the spell of a proud, delusionary con- 
sciousness, unmindful of the windings of his entrails, the swift flow 
of his bloodstream, the intricate quiverings of his tissues! She threw 
away the key; and woe to the fateful curiosity that ever succeeded in 
peering through a crack out of the room of consciousness and down- 
ward, suddenly realizing that man is based on a lack of mercy, insa- 
tiable greed, murder, on the indifference that stems from ignorance, 
as it were clinging to a tiger's back in dreams. Given this state of 
affairs, where in the world does the desire for truth originate? 

Since the individual wants to preserve himself against other indi- 
viduals, in the natural state man uses the intellect mostly for dissi- 
mulation. But at the same time, because man, out of necessity and 
boredom, wants to live socially in the herd, he needs a peace agree- 
ment, and he tries to eliminate at least the crudest forms of the hel- 
ium omnium contra omnes [war of all against all]. 2 But this peaceful 
agreement apparently leads to the first step toward man's acquisition 
of his mysterious desire for truth. For what "truth" will be from now 
on is fixed; a uniformly valid and binding terminology for things is 
invented and the legislation of language also enacts the first laws of 
truth. For now, for the first time, the distinction between truth and 



248 NIETZSCHE ON RHETORIC AND LANGUAGE 



lying arises. The liar uses the valid terms, the words, to make the 
unreal appear real; for instance, he says, "I am rich," when "poor" 
would be the right term. He misuses established conventions by arbi- 
trary substitutions and even reversals of names. When he does this 
in a selfish and damaging manner, society will no longer trust him 
and so it will exclude him from its presence. But men flee not so 
much being deceived as being harmed by deceit. What they hate is 
really not so much deception as the bad, hostile consequences of cer- 
tain kinds of deceptions. Man also wants truth in a similar, restricted 
sense. He longs for the pleasant, life-preserving consequences of 
truth; he is indifferent to pure, inconsequential knowledge; toward 
truths which are perhaps even damaging and destructive, he is hos- 
tile. And furthermore, what is the situation with those conventions 
of language? Are they perhaps products of knowledge, of the sense 
for truth? Do terms coincide with things? Is language the adequate 
expression of all realities? 

Only by forgetfulness can man ever come to believe that he has 
truth to the above-designated degree. Unless he wants to settle for 
truth in the form of tautology, i.e., for empty husks, he will perpet- 
ually exchange truths for illusions. What is a word? The portrayal of 
nerve stimuli in sounds. But to conclude from a nerve stimulus to a 
cause outside ourselves is already the result of a false and unjustified 
application of the law of causality. What would allow us, if the truth 
about the origin of language, the viewpoint of the certainty of terms, 
were alone decisive, what would allow us to say, "The stone is hard," 
as if "hard" were known to us otherwise than as a subjective stimu- 
lation! We arrange things by genders, we designate the tree [der 
Baum] as masculine, the plant [die Pflanze) as feminine: what arbi- 
trary transferences! How far-flung beyond the canon of certitude! We 
speak of a "serpent"; the term applies to nothing but its winding, and 
so it would apply equally to the worm. What arbitrary delimitations, 
what one-sided preferences for one trait or another of a thing! The 
various languages, juxtaposed, show that words are never concerned 
with truth, never with adequate expression; otherwise there would 
not be so many languages. The "thing-in-itself" (which would be 
pure, disinterested truth) is also absolutely incomprehensible to the 
creator of language and not worth seeking. He designates only the 
relations of things to men, and to express these relations he uses 
the boldest metaphors. First, he translates a nerve stimulus into an 
image! That is the first metaphor. Then, the image must be reshaped 
into a sound! The second metaphor. And each time there is a com- 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 



249 



plete overleaping of spheres— from one sphere to the center of a 
totally different, new one. Imagine a person who is completely deaf 
and never has had a sensation of sound and music. How this person 
marvels at the Chladnean sound-figures in the sand, identifying their 
cause as the trembling of the strings, then swearing that now he must 
know what people call "sound." 3 That is the situation of all of us with 
language. When we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers, we 
believe we know something about the things themselves, although 
what we have are just metaphors of things, which do not correspond 
at all to the original entities. Like sound in the sand-figure, so the 
mysterious x of the thing appears first as a nerve stimulus, then as 
an image, and finally as a sound. In any case, the origin of language 
is not a logical process, and the whole material in and with which the 
man of truth, the scientist, the philosopher, works and builds, stems, 
if not from a never-never land, in any case not from the essence of 
things. 

Let us think in particular of the formation of concepts. Every word 
becomes a concept as soon as it is supposed to serve not merely as a 
reminder of the unique, absolutely individualized original experi- 
ence, to which it owes its origin, but at the same time to fit countless, 
more or less similar cases, which, strictly speaking, are never iden- 
tical, and hence absolutely dissimilar. Every concept originates by 
the equation of the dissimilar. Just as no leaf is ever exactly the same 
as any other, certainly the concept "leaf is formed by arbitrarily 
dropping those individual differences, by forgetting the distinguish- 
ing factors, and this gives rise to the idea that besides leaves there is 
in nature such a thing as the "leaf," i.e., an original form according 
to which all leaves are supposedly woven, sketched, circled off, col- 
ored, curled, painted, but by awkward hands, so that not a single 
specimen turns out correctly and reliably as a true copy of the orig- 
inal form. We call a person "honest." We ask, "Why did he act so 
honestly today?" Our answer usually goes: "Because of his honesty." 
Honesty! that means once more: the "leaf is the cause of the leaves. 
For we know nothing of an essential quality called honesty; what we 
know are numerous, individualized, hence dissimilar, actions which 
we equate by omitting the dissimilar and then referring to them as 
honest actions. Last of all, we formulate out of them a qualitas 
occulta with the name "honesty." 

Overlooking the individual and the real gives us the concept, just 
as it also gives us the form, whereas nature knows no forms and con- 
cepts, hence also no species, but only an x that is inaccessible and 



250 NIETZSCHE ON RHETORIC AND LANGUAGE 

indefinable for us. For even our distinction between individual and 
species is anthropomorphic and does not stem from the essence of 
things, although we also do not dare to say that it does not corre- 
spond to it. For that would be a dogmatic assertion, and as such just 
as unprovable as its opposite. 

What is truth? a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, anthro- 
pomorphisms, in short, a sum of human relations which were poet- 
ically and rhetorically heightened, transferred, and adorned, and 
after long use seem solid, canonical, and binding to a nation. Truths 
are illusions about which it has been forgotten that they are illusions, 
worn-out metaphors without sensory impact, coins which have lost 
their image and now can be used only as metal, and no longer as 
coins. We still do not know where the desire for truth originates; for 
until now we have heard only of the obligation which society, in 
order to exist, imposes: to be truthful, i.e., to use the customary met- 
aphors, or in moral terms, the obligation to lie according to an estab- 
lished convention, to lie collectively in a style that is mandatory for 
everyone. Now, of course, man forgets that this is his situation; so 
he lies in the designated manner unconsciously and according to cen- 
turies-old habits— and precisely by this unconsciousness, by this for- 
getting, he arrives at his sense of truth. The sense of being obliged to 
call one thing "red," another "cold," a third one "mute," gives rise 
to a moral feeling with respect to truth. By contrast with the liar, 
whom no one trusts, whom all ostracize, man proves for himself the 
honorableness, the familiarity, the usefulness of truth. As a "ratio- 
nal" being, he now puts his actions under the rule of abstractions; he 
no longer lets himself be carried away by sudden impressions, by 
intuitions; he first universalizes these impressions into less colorful, 
cooler concept's, in order to hitch the wagon of his life and actions to 
them. Everything that sets man off from the animal depends upon 
this capacity to dilute the concrete metaphors into a schema; for in 
the realm of such schemata, something is possible that might never 
succeed under the intuited first impressions: to build up a pyramidal 
order according to castes and classes, a new world of laws, privileges, 
subordinations, boundary determinations, which now stands oppo- 
site the other, concrete world of primary impressions, as the more 
solid, more universal, more familiar, more human, and therefore as 
the regulatory and imperative world. Whereas any intuitive meta- 
phor is individual and unique and therefore always eludes any com- 
mentary, the great structure of concepts displays the rigid regularity 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 



251 



of a Roman columbarium and has an aura of that severity and cold- 
ness typical of mathematics. Whoever feels the breath of that cold- 
ness will scarcely believe that even the concept, bony and cube- 
shaped like a die, and equally rotatable, is just what is left over as 
the residue of a metaphor, and that the illusion of the artistic trans- 
ference of a nerve stimulus into images is, if not the mother, then the 
grandmother, of any concept. Within this dice game of concepts, 
however, "truth" means: to use each die as designated, count its 
spots accurately, forming the correct labels, and never violating the 
caste system and sequence of rank classifications. As the Romans 
and Etruscans carved up the sky into rigid mathematical sectors and 
assigned a god to each delimited space as in a temple, so every nation 
has such a mathematically divided conceptual sky above it and 
understands by the demand for truth that each conceptual god must 
be sought only in his own sphere. In this respect man can probably 
be admired as a mighty architectural genius who succeeds in building 
an infinitely complicated conceptual cathedral on foundations that 
move like flowing water; of course, in order to anchor itself to such 
a foundation, the building must be light as gossamer—delicate 
enough to be earned along by the wave, yet strong enough not to be 
blown apart by the wind. As an architectural genius, man excels the 
bee; for it builds out of wax which it collects from nature, while man 
builds out of the much more delicate material of the concepts, which 
he must fabricate out of his own self. In this respect he is quite 
admirable, but not because of his desire for truth, for pure knowledge 
of things. If someone hides an object behind a bush, then seeks and 
finds it there, that seeking and finding is not very laudable: but that 
is the way it is with the seeking and finding of "truth" within the 
rational sphere. If I define the mammal and then after examining a 
camel declare, "See, a mammal," a truth is brought to light, but it is 
of limited value. I mean, it is anthropomorphic through and through 
and contains not a single point that would be "true in itself," real, 
and universally valid, apart from man. The investigator into such 
truths is basically seeking just the metamorphosis of the world into 
man; he is struggling to understand the world as a human-like thing 
and acquires at best a feeling of assimilation. Just as the astrologer 
observes the stars in the service of men and in connection with their 
joys and sorrows, so such an investigator observes the whole world 
as linked with man; as the infinitely refracted echo of a primeval 
sound, man; as the reproduction and copy of an archetype, man. His 



252 



NIETZSCHE ON RHETORIC AND LANGUAGE 



procedure is to hold man up as the measure of all things, but his 
point of departure is the error of believing that he has these things 
before him as pure objects. He thus forgets that the original intuitive 
metaphors are indeed metaphors and takes them for the things 
themselves. 

Only by forgetting that primitive metaphor-world, only by the 
hardening and rigidification of the mass of images that originally 
gushed forth as hot magma out of the primeval faculty of human 
fantasy, only by the invincible belief that this sun, this window, this 
table is a truth-in-itself, in short, only insofar as man forgets himself 
as a subject, indeed as an artistically creative subject, does he live 
with some calm, security, and consistency. If he could even for one 
moment escape from the prison walls of this belief, then his high 
opinion of himself would be dashed immediately. Even this costs 
him effort: to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives a 
completely different world than man does, and that the question 
which of the two world-perceptions is more right is a completely 
senseless one, since it could be decided only by the criterion of the 
right perception, i.e., by a standard which does not exist. Basically the 
right perception — that would mean the adequate expression of an 
object in the subject— seems to me to be a self-<;ontradictory absurd- 
ity. For between two absolutely different spheres such as subject and 
object, there can be no expression, but at most an aesthetic stance, I 
mean an allusive transference, a stammering translation into a com- 
pletely foreign medium. For this, however, in any case a freely fic- 
tionalizing and freely inventive middle sphere and middle faculty is 
necessary. The word "appearance" contains many seductions; and so 
I avoid it as much as possible. For it is not true that the essence of 
things appears in the empirical world. A painter who had lost his 
hands and sought to express the picture he envisaged by means of 
song, would still reveal more by this exchange of spheres than the 
empirical world reveals of the essence of things. Even the relation of 
a nerve stimulus to the produced picture is intrinsically not a nec- 
essary one; but when the same image has been produced millions of 
times and has been passed down through many generations of men, 
indeed ultimately appearing to all mankind as the result of the same 
occasion, in the end it has for man the same significance as if it were 
the only necessary image and as if that relationship of the original 
nerve stimulus to the produced image were a strictly causal relation- 
ship—just as a dream, eternally repeated, absolutely would be felt 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 



253 



and judged as reality. But the hardening and solidification of a met- 
aphor is not at all a guarantee of the necessity and exclusive justifi- 
cation of this metaphor. 

Certainly, every person who is familiar with such meditations has 
felt a deep distrust for that sort of idealism, as often as he has very 
clearly convinced himself of the eternal coherence, omnipresence, 
and infallibility of the laws of nature. He drew the conclusion: every- 
thing here, as far as we can penetrate, to the heights of the telescopic 
world or to the depths of the microscopic world, is constructed so 
securely, endlessly, regularly, and without gaps; science will have to 
dig successfully in these shafts forever, and everything it finds will 
coincide and not contradict itself. How little this resembles a product 
of fantasy; for if it were that, it would surely betray its illusoriness 
and unreality at some point. Against this reasoning, the following 
can be said: if we had, each taken singly, a varying sensory percep- 
tion, we could see now like a bird, now like a worm, now like a plant; 
or if one of us saw the same stimulus as red, another as blue, while 
a third heard it even as a sound, then no one would speak of such a 
regularity of nature, but they would grasp it only as a highly subjec- 
tive formation. What, then, is for us a law of nature? It is not known 
to us as such, but only in its effects, i.e., in its relations to other nat- 
ural laws, which in tum are known to us only as relations. All these 
relations thus always refer back only to one another and are abso- 
lutely incomprehensible to us in their essence; what we add to 
them— time, space, hence relations of succession and numbers— is 
all we know about them. Everything marvelous that we admire in 
the laws of nature and that promotes our explanation and could mis- 
lead us into distrusting idealism, consists exclusively of the mathe- 
matical stringency and inviolability of time- and space-perceptions. 
But we produce these perceptions within ourselves and out of our- 
selves with the same necessity as a spider spins its web. If we are 
compelled to grasp all things only under these forms, then it is not 
surprising that in all things we really grasp only these forms: for they 
all must carry the laws of number in themselves, and number is the 
very thing that is most astonishing about things. All the regularity 
which so impresses us about the course of the stars and in the chem- 
ical process coincides fundamentally with the properties which we 
ourselves project into things, so that we impress ourself with it. It 
follows from this, to be sure, that the artistic metaphor-formation 
with which every perception begins in us, already presupposed those 



254 NIETZSCHE ON RHETORIC AND LANGUAGE 



forms, and hence is carried out in them. Only the fixed persistence 
of these original forms explains the possibility that later a structure 
of concepts was to be constructed again out of the metaphors them- 
selves. For this is an imitation of the time-, space- and number-rela- 
tions on the ground of the metaphors. 

2 

Language, as we saw, and later science, works at the structure of 
concepts. As the bee simultaneously builds the cells and fills them 
with honey, so science works incessantly at the great columbarium 
of the concepts, the sepulcher of intuition, forever constructing new 
and ever higher levels, buttressing, cleaning, renovating old cells, and 
striving especially to fill this enormous towering edifice and to 
arrange the whole empirical, i.e., anthropomorphic, world in it. If 
even the man of action binds his life to reason and its concepts in 
order not to be swept away by the current and to lose himself, the 
researcher builds his hut right next to the towering structure of sci- 
ence in order to help with it and to find shelter himself under the 
existing fortification. And he does need shelter; for there are terrible 
powers which constantly press upon him, and which run counter to 
scientific truth with truths of quite another kind and under a differ- 
ent aegis. 

That drive to form metaphors, that fundamental desire in man, 
which cannot be discounted for one moment, because that would 
amount to ignoring man himself, is in truth not overcome and 
indeed hardly restrained by the fact that out of its diminished prod- 
ucts, the concepts, a regular and rigid new world is built up for him 
as a prison fortress. It seeks a new province for its activities and a 
different riverbed and generally finds it in myth and in art. It con- 
stantly confuses the categories and cells of the concepts by presenting 
new transferences, metaphors, and metonyms; constantly showing 
the desire to shape the existing world of the wideawake,person to be 
variegatedly irregular and disinterestedly incoherent, excjting and 
eternally new, as is the world of dreams. Actually, the wideawake 
person is certain that he is awake only because of the rigidly regular 
web of concepts, and so he sometimes comes to believe that he is 
dreaming when at times that web of concepts is torn apart by art. 
Pascal is right when he states that if we had the same dream every 
night we would be as preoccupied with it as by the things we see 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 



255 



every day: "If the craftsman were certain to dream every night for a 
full twelve hours that he is a king, then I believe," says Pascal, "he 
would be just as happy as a king who dreamed every night for twelve 
hours that he is a craftsman." The waking day of a mythically excited 
nation, the ancient Greeks for instance, is, by the constant action of 
marvels, indeed more like a dream than like the day of the scientif- 
ically sober thinker. When any tree may begin anytime to speak as a 
nymph, or a god in the guise of a bull can abduct a maiden, when 
the goddess Athena herself is suddenly seen driving through the mar- 
ketplaces of Athens on a beautiful team of horses in the company of 
Pisistratus— as the honest Athenian believed— then at any moment, 
as in a dream, anything is possible, and all nature crowds around 
man as if it were only the masquerade of the gods, who only make a 
joke of deceiving man in all forms. 

Man, however, has an unconquerable tendency to let himself be 
deceived and he is as if enchanted with happiness when the rhapso- 
dist tells him epic legends as true or the actor in a drama plays the 
king more regally than any real monarch does. As long as it can 
deceive without harm, the intellect, that master of deception, is free 
and released from its usual servile tasks, and that is when it cele- 
brates its Saturnalia; never is it more luxuriant, richer, prouder, more 
skillful and bold. With creative nonchalance it scrambles the meta- 
phors and shifts the boundary-stones of abstraction, so that, e.g., it 
calls the river a moving road that carries man to where he otherwise 
walks. Otherwise busy with melancholy business, it has now cast off 
the mark of subservience in order to show a poor devil who is avid 
for life the path and the means of attaining it. And like a servant 
whose master is setting out on a campaign seeking booty and plun- 
der, it has now become the master and can wipe the look of poverty 
from its features. Which it now does. Compared with its former 
activities, everything contains dissimulation, just as the former life 
contained distortion. It copies human life, taking it for a good thing, 
and seems quite satisfied with it. That enormous structure of beams 
and boards of the concepts, to which the poor man clings for dear 
life, is for the liberated intellect just a scaffolding and plaything for 
his boldest artifices. And when he smashes it apart, scattering it, and 
then ironically puts it together again, joining the most remote and 
separating what is closest, he reveals that he does not need the emer- 
gency aid of poverty, and that he is now guided not by concepts but 
by intuitions. From these intuitions no regular road leads to the land 



256 NIETZSCHE ON RHETORIC AND LANGUAGE 

of ghostly schemata, of abstractions. The word is not made for these 
intuitions; man falls silent when he sees them, or he speaks in sheer 
forbidden metaphors and unheard of conceptual compounds, in 
order at least by smashing and scorning the old conceptual barri- 
cades to correspond creatively to the impressions of the mighty pres- 
ent intuition. 

There are ages in which the rational man and the intuitive man 
stand side by side, one in fear of intuition, the other with mockery 
for abstraction; the latter being just as unreasonable as the former is 
unartistic. Both desire to master life; the one by managing to meet 
his main needs with foresight, prudence, reliability; the other, as an 
"overjoyous" hero, by not seeing those needs and considering only 
life, disguised as illusion and beauty, to be real. Where once the intu- 
itive man, as in more ancient Greece, bore his weapons more pow- 
erfully and victoriously than his adversary, in favorable cases a cul- 
ture can form and the domination of art over life be established. That 
dissimulation, that denial of poverty, that splendor of metaphorical 
intuitions and, in general, that immediacy of delusion accompanies 
all manifestations of such a life. Neither the house, nor the stride, 
nor the clothing, nor the clay jug betray the fact that need invented 
them; they seem intended to express an exalted happiness and an 
Olympian serenity and, as it were, a playing with serious matters. 
While the man guided by concepts and abstractions merely wards off 
misfortune by means of them, without extracting happiness for him- 
self from them as he seeks the greatest freedom from pain, the intu- 
itive man, standing in the midst of culture, in addition to warding 
off harm, reaps from his intuitions a continuously streaming clarifi- 
cation, cheerfulness, redemption. Of course, he suffers more vio- 
lently when he does suffer; indeed, he also suffers more often, 
because he does not know how to learn from experience and he falls 
again and again into the same pit into which he fell before. He is then 
just as unreasonable in sorrow as in happiness; he cries out loudly 
and cannot be consoled. How differently stands the stoic person who 
has learned from experience and controls himself by reason! He who 
otherwise seeks only honesty, truth, freedom from delusions, and 
protection from enthralling seizures, now, in misfortune, produces a 
masterpiece of dissimulation, as the former did in happiness; he does 
not wear a quivering and mobile human face but, as it were, a mask 
with dignified harmony of features, he does not scream and does not 



ON TRUTH AND LYING 257 

even raise his voice. When a real storm cloud pours down upon him, 
he wraps himself in his overcoat and walks away under the rain with 
slow strides. 

NOTES 

1. Lessing, in a letter to J. J. Eschenburg dated December 31, 1777, thus 
mourns the death of his newborn son. 

2. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, chapter !8. 

3. E. F. F, Chladni, the German physicist, used visual means of demonstrat- 
ing sound. See his Neue Beitrage zurAkuslik (1817).